Some of you have been asking about ways to make your home more accessible for people with disabilities. So today I wanted to address a very important trend in home building known as universal design.
Universal design is based on the concept that everyone – be they disabled, aging or a mom carrying a baby on her hip – can benefit from basic building features. The trend began with widening doorways and has grown to include some great accessibility ideas. Here are just a few examples:
- Single-lever kitchen and bath faucets – so you can use one have to control the flow and temperature.
- Wall ovens – eliminating the need to bend and potentially opening up more space in the kitchen.
- Hand-surface flooring – easier for wheelchairs and walkers.
- Stepless entries – simpler to access for those who cannot navigate steps.
When it comes to the home’s actually floor plan, a good rule of thumb is to include hallways that are at least 42 inches wide and doorways should ideally be 46 inches.
If you can implement pocket doors instead of swinging ones, that’ll save the person in a wheelchair or using a crane a lot of unneeded hassle.
Some of the less obvious ideas that make a difference include moving power outages up higher on the wall, D-shaped cabinet pulls, roll-in shower stalls and glare-free lighting.
In the kitchen, pull-out shelves, varied cabinet heights and a side-by-side fridge will help those who are disabled to navigate the hardest room in the house.
Even something as simples as including switchplates that contrast to wall color is helpful.
Other great resources:
- Universal Design at North Carolina State http://design.ncsu.edu/cud
- Universal Designers & Consultants http://www.universaldesign.com/
Photo Source: http://www.houzz.com/